Serve over rice.
When I got home from my hike today, I didn't really want to cook, but I did want to eat. Six miles, over gorgeous sunny hills, will definitely put a spark in the old appetite. Plus, I'd been unable to resist the garden centre in West Wycombe, which sells fresh organic produce.
But how to turn that lovely cauliflower and those tiny button mushrooms into something edible without spending another hour or two in the kitchen, on aching feet?
Fortunately, a mixed vegetable curry is deceptively easy to prepare. While the denser vegetables are sautéing in the pan, you can chop the remaining veggies, and toss them in, along with the appropriate spices, when the time comes. The sauce is formed by basic vegetable stock, coconut milk, and tomatoes. (I used already prepared vegetable stock; no need to make it from scratch for this forgiving dish.) Meanwhile, brown basmati rice simmers on the stove, and by the time it's cooked, in 45 minutes, the curry is ready for its final garnish of coriander.
I also fried some onion bhajis, made a sort of raita with soy cream cheese, soy milk, lemon juice and coriander, and by the time Big Ben tolled six times, and my equally hungry daughter walked in, dinner was ready.
Curry in a hurry. Yes indeed.
Curry in a Hurry
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1large pinch dried curry leaves
1 large sweet potato, cubed, or white potato
2 carrots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger root, minced
1 - 2 teaspoons dried red chile
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 can chopped tomatoes, or 5-6 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup small button mushrooms, whole
1/3 cup peas
1/2 cup coriander/cilantro, minced
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion. After a couple of minutes, move the onion to the side and add the spices in the center of the pan: turmeric, fenugreek, garam masala, cumin. After a minute, stir the spices into the onion and add the curry leaves, sweet potato, carrot, garlic, ginger and red chile.
After a few minutes of sautéing over medium-high heat, add the liquid ingredients: vegetable stock, coconut milk, lemon juice, and tomatoes with their liquid. Stir, and add the chickpeas. Cover the pan and let cook for 15 minutes.
Add the cauliflower florets and the mushrooms. Cook another 5 minutes, then add peas (frozen are fine) and coriander/cilantro a couple of minutes before serving.
Serve with brown basmati rice.